An evening to remember

It has been quite some time since I last attended a function of sorts at the Pakistan Academy Of Letters, so when I received this sms of invitation from Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui, the PAL editor of English I had to go there for one doesn’t always come across a person of the stature of Zulfikar Ghose, the US based poet, novelist and essayist, whom the gathering was arranged for.

I was fortunate to arrive earlier at the Editor’s office, meet the honorable Ghose sahib and exchange some pleasantries with him. Thats where I got my hands literally on a copy of the biannual anthology of the Pakistani writers, ‘The Pakistani Literature’ where translations from a variety of Pakistani languages as well as original English works of the prominent Pakistani literati are published. I flipped through pages and was pleasantly surprised to see the publication of four of my translated poems from Pushto. I conveyd my gratitude to Mr. Khiraam who enhanced my delight by showing me a heavier anthology which included pieces of translations as well as a selection of the original Pakistani English literature from 1947 to 2010, that again included a translation of mine. I requested for the contributor’s copies which the Editor generously handed me with compliments.

The function itself was a wonderful experience. Ghose sahib recited poems from his latest collection called ’50 Poems’ published by the Oxford University Press. In between the recitals of his inspiring poetry Ghose sahib delighted us with interesting anecdotes pertaining mostly to his experiences in life. There was a question-answer session in the end which again was full of information as we came to know how writers born in the third world are assigned labels in the West and how it limits the scope of a writer.

The modertator Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui (left) with Zulfikar Ghose (right)

It was an evening to remember and one would like to be a part of such enlightening gatherings more often.

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Ghalib …

سب کہاں کچھ لالہ و گل میں نمایاں ہو گئیں

خاک میں کیا صورتیں ہوں گی جو پنہاں ہوگئیں

یاد تھیں ہم کو بھی رنگا رنگ بزم آرائیاں

لیکن اب نقش و نگار طاق نسیاں ہو گئیں

Not all but some have reappeared in Tulips and (other) flowers

What (grand) faces those would have been, which are buried in mud!

Remembered, we too, (being part of) the colorful gatherings (of yore)

Which now have become the decorative embroidery of the shelf of forgetfulness

Todays Flower Is Only For You!

In Urdu By, Mubarak Ahmad

Translation: Aadil Omer

There grows daily

a Grey flower in my heart.

Today’s flower

is only for you!

Weather to crush it, or

tear it petal by petal!

I will pick them, one by one

in a vain effort of patching

it through my tears.

‘You are insane!’,

The thought would say,

‘Don’t waste your time and tears!’

‘Every day, just keep on

growing a Grey flower

in your heart,

and put it in a collar

or someone’s hair,

for, only a ‘gesture’ of love

is enough in friendship’.

Pleasure And Ants

In Sindhi By, Pushpa Wolbh

Translation: Aadil Omer

The dreams of achieving

a higher status have

done no wrong to you,

except,

the tiny happy moments,

the laughter and talk,

have turned into ants

and are crushed under the feet.

Your manners,

the love and smiles,

fall on your official attire,

and sleep right

where you sleep at night.

They wake

when you greet the first person

you meet in your office.

They fall here and there,

and lose their way,

when you reach your home.

Three Translations

‘Adabiat’ a quarterly literary journal published by the Pakistan Academy Of Letters in its April-June issue has got a very impressive section of poems translated into urdu from a variety of Pakistani languages. Below here are three short poems that I further tried to translate into english. Translations do diminish the beauty of a literary piece to a fair extent, yet my liking for the ideas behind the poems prompted me to post it here.

1. Distanc (By Ishaq Samejo in Sindhi)

Everything is bound to end

Except for the distance

Between you and me.

2. The Color Pink (By Asif Dharejo in Sindhi)

I wish I turn into

The color pink and

Reach to the artist’s

Brush, right where he

Would paint your lips.

3. Daughter Of The Sun (Raz. M. Raz in Pushto)

On her way back,

The dust rising of her feet

Is falling like a night

Over the horizon of my life.

I know not, whether its

The departure of my love,

Or the Sun extinguished,

Over the horizon of life.